What is the first stop for any business investigating Fulton County?
The answer is simple: The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth (CRG).
The CRG’s model is straightforward, efficient, and effective: assess needs, assemble a team to assist with all aspects of a project, facilitate the project through its completion, and provide whatever assistance is needed in the future to improve businesses’ processes and enable growth and expansion.
The CRG helps businesspeople from solotrepreneurs all the way to executives of global corporations. The center’s staff, with its statewide network of financial, workforce development, marketing, infrastructure, government, and high-tech industry contacts, finds the best resources to meet the needs of any company moving to Fulton County to do business.
Ken Kearney, president and founder of the Kearney Realty & Development Group, is a case in point. He had never been to Gloversville before CRG President Ron Peters invited him. Based on his company’s projects, Peters knew that the county would be a perfect location for Kearney’s next development, Glove City Lofts, a combination of artist housing and retail space designed to be a catalyst for downtown rejuvenation.
The trip was worth it.
After a meeting with CRG staff and Gloversville mayor Vincent DeSantis, they took Kearney to see two properties they had identified as those that could meet the developer’s needs. Kearney liked one of them, and the CRG began working with the lender and the property owner to gain site control so that his project could proceed. “It was a complex process to get site control of this property, and it takes time,” Kearney said. “Ron and his staff did a great job on both sides, working with the bank and working with the owners.”
In the meantime, the CRG’s Gloversville Downtown Development Specialist James Hannahs connected Kearney with the Glove City Arts Alliance to generate excitement for the project.
CRG staff continues to work with Kearney as he seeks funding for the development. “We’re hoping that the Glove City Lofts will be the centerpiece of a successful Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI),” Kearney said. “For this project to be as impactful as we want it to be, we need it to be the anchor of a successful DRI application,” he said, noting that that means $10 million will come into Gloversville. “That’s the goal.”
Kearney is not doing this work alone. He is assisted every step of the way by the CRG, with its intimate knowledge of the area’s resources. “Fulton County Center for Regional Growth has its fingerprints on Glove City Lofts from the very first day to today,” Kearney said.
Here’s a summary of what companies can expect when working with the Center for Regional Growth:
With its extensive knowledge of the region, the CRG provides top-notch efficiency in all processes, from site selection and approval to financing and staffing. “We assess what a company’s needs are, in terms of location logistics, supply chain, workforce development, and financing,” said CRG President and CEO Ron Peters. From there, CRG searches for suitable sites and brings the complete economic development team for implementing the process.
Team members include the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency which provides tax incentives, power industries such as National Grid, grant writers, workforce development specialists, and lenders. “We build that team ahead of time, so when we have our first initial meeting with a business, we have all the players together right from the start,” said CRG Economic Development Specialist Ken Adamczyk. “We put everybody at the table at the same time so that it’s one-stop shopping.”
Once a site has been selected, the CRG expedites the approval process so that it is completed in 60 days, a feat made possible by the CRG’s excellent working relationships with local, state, and federal government officials. “We fast-track the development process and assist companies with their needs and working with the municipalities through their planning process,” Peters said.
For example, when paint company Benjamin Moore wanted to double the footprint of its Johnstown plant, the CRG was on hand to assist. “The CRG facilitated some good connections with other folks to get the process started in a pretty short time frame,” said manufacturing director Paul Connelie.
The CRG specializes in navigating the plethora of funding opportunities available for business development and expansion. CRG staff creates a comprehensive financial package. Staff seeks out available federal, state, and local grants, interested lenders, and other financial assistance. In order to provide better economic opportunities for clients, the CRG takes a regional approach, working with other economic development organizations in the Mohawk Valley and beyond. Any companies looking to commit to the region can depend on the CRG to guide them to the most advantageous financial resources, discounts on utilities, and tax incentives and savings as well as assist them in obtaining the most competitive bids for their projects.
The CRG continues to work with companies all the way through the development process. “We follow them throughout the whole process so that if there are any hiccups along the way, we can help them with any situation that comes down the pipeline,” Peters said. The CRG is also available for existing companies desiring to expand.
Located in the Technology Triangle formed by Global Foundries to the east, SUNY Polytechnic College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering to the south and Marcy Nanocenter at SUNY Polytechnic Institute to the west, Fulton County is particularly well-suited for high-tech companies for several reasons. The CRG has identified sites within the county that can be developed into industrial parks, as well as shovel-ready sites. The CRG has relationships with several institutions that focus on workforce development and even tailor-made custom training programs for high-tech companies. Fulton County is just minutes from the Interstate 90 highway, making it just hours from major East Coast and Midwest cities and ports.
Assistance in difficult economic times.
When the economy changes, the CRG is there. “We played a major role during the pandemic with business retention and assistance,” Adamczyk said. The CRG assisted businesses with applications for Small Business Administration Express Bridge loans, debt relief, the Payroll Protection Program, Economic Industry Disaster loans, and Mohawk Valley Economic Development District Cares Act loans.
The CRG assists companies in creating a marketing strategy to help their businesses grow and thrive in the region.
The CRG partners with several entities in the region to assist employers in finding and/or training the staff they need to prosper. For small businesses, the CRG also offers a business training program associated with its administration of the New York State Community Development Block Grant Program for microenterprises.
Collaboration with the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth is a winning proposition for businesses large and small.
Contact the center at 518-725-7700 or visit www.fccrg.org.
Like Ken Kearney, you’ll be glad you did.